Senior Pentagon Officials have stated recently that an Israeli air strike against Iranian nuclear targets would likely not penetrate far enough underground to destroy their bunkers. Many military officials are also worried about the response from Iran if Israel decides to act. More than 100 Israeli plans would need to fly over 1,000 miles refuel, and fight off Iranian attacks from the ground.
As the New York Times reports, Pentagon officials believe that an air raid campaign over Iran would be an extremely complex operation and would likely involve more planes than Israel has. They also noted that these attacks would be markedly different from their surgical air strikes against Syrian and Iraqi nuclear locations in the past.
Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who planned many air raids over Iraq in the Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan, stated that, “All the pundits who talk about ‘Oh, yeah, bomb Iran,’ it ain’t going to be that easy.”
The likelihood of an attack from Israel has increased in the past months with the tension between these countries growing. Many in the United States do not believe that Israel has the military capacity to pull of a campaign of this size, and would likely end in pulling the United States into the fray.
Some American politicians have supported the selling of more planes and bombs to Israel. Ideally this support would not need to be used, but rather a show of force that Israel can carry out this campaign if needed.
“There are a lot of unknowns, there are a lot of potential risks, but Israel may know that those risks aren’t that serious,” said Anthony H. Cordesman, military analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
A huge problem for Israel would be how they get their planes over Iran. The trip is 1,000 miles one way, for planes that have a 2,000 max travel limit this pushes it a little close.
To successfully plan this mission planes, would either have to refuel mid-air under potential anti-aircraft fire, or find a friendly landing zone to refuel. In addition, the extent of Iran’s ground defenses is not known and this could end up becoming a costly attack.
While Russia refused a couple of years ago to sell Iran upgraded anti-aircraft missiles, their current stockpile is not negligible. Furthermore Iran has possession of missiles that can easily reach Israeli civilian targets.
Unlike Israel, if the United States decided to take the front of this attack we would have a much easier time completing the mission. We would be able to fly big bombers higher than anti-aircraft missiles can reach, use stealth bombers, unmanned drone flights, as well as refuel in multiple locations around the Middle East.
However, Iran’s bunkers would still be hard to reach, with the majority of them buried 30 or more feet underground.
So a few questions come to mind here. First, does anyone see the similarity to the beginning of the War in Iraq? It is radical regime, who we claim is trying to gain access to nuclear weapons, and there are millions of tons of oil at stake.
We also are evaluating the defenses of this country very highly, as we should. However, we did the same in Iraq and found it to be much different situation than we thought. Iran has not yet admitted or stated that their nuclear program is intended to produce weapons, although according to intelligence reports they have enough enriched uranium to begin the production of a bomb.
The country will have to wait with their breath held to see if we will involve ourselves in another military conflict in the Middle East. As it stands right now, this clash seems imminent, and the destruction associated with a conflict will undoubtedly be massive